December 9, 2016

Thinking Big in Big Sky Country | Design Institute Design Challenges | Library by Design, Fall 2016

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Susan F. Gregory, director of the Bozeman Public Library, MT, welcomed attendees of LJ’s Design Institute (DI) to the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver-certified building this May. Opened in 2006, the facility is at once both warmly rustic, clearly inspired by its spectacular mountain setting, and right on trend with the best of national library design. It offers open sight lines, a lofty roof with metal accents, lots of glass (balanced by plenty of wood), hands-on tech, and spaces for people inside and out, making it the perfect setting for attendees to plan the right library for their own communities.

Librarians’ Picks | Library by Design, Fall 2016

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Librarians who have recently completed building projects are eager to share their choices for design that raises the bar above the expected.

(Re) Open Concept | Library by Design 2016

TRANSPARENTLY TRANSFORMED The Columbus Metropolitan Library’s ambitious renovation of its main facility opened up the spaces to one another and to the outside. (Clockwise from lower l.): The teen/YA media area sees heavy use; a formerly blank wall becomes an expanse of glass; the original Carnegie serves as a grand centerpiece; circular shelving defines story time space in the center of the children’s room

The story of the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), OH, main library renovation is a familiar one these days: indeed, it has become practically archetypal. A gorgeous old Carnegie, opened in 1907, had long since been outgrown. Over the century and with four additions, it had been married to expansions—the most recent bringing the library to more than 250,000 square feet. Done in 1991, at the height of the trend of stack-centric libraries designed to maximize collections, this latest reformation included virtually no windows, lest the books be damaged by sunlight. Now, a people-first renovation has gently polished the Carnegie and dramatically opened up the addition, thinning the (still ample) collection to focus on space for community in the form of events, meetings, coworking, and simply relaxing and reading—perhaps with a cup of coffee from the new Carnegie Café.

Windows on Boston | New Landmark Libraries 2016

BRIGHT IDEAS The completion of Phase 2 of Boston PL’s renovation focused on letting in light, with pops of color that tie in to Phase 1. The modern welcome desk (l.) is surrounded by playful digital displays; the computer center’s new windows (r.) let in abundant natural light and offer a glimpse of the stone that once encompassed the entire building

The transformation is evident even before visitors enter. Moving down Boylston Street from Copley Square, past the side of the historic McKim Building, the façade of the Boston Public Library (BPL) no longer resembles a bunker. The massive granite slabs that once obscured the entrance are now embedded in the pavement. Through the glass, passersby can see people lining a laptop bar. It’s 10:30 on a Thursday morning, and the place is jamming.

Academic New Landmark Libraries 2016 Walking Tour: Jerry Falwell Library, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA

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The impressive Jerry Falwell Library on the Liberty University campus in Lynchburg, VA, is a building constantly changing.

Academic New Landmark Libraries 2016 Walking Tour: Introduction

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The announcement of LJ‘s 2016 academic New Landmark Libraries gave use an opportunity to showcase exemplary design and service in academic libraries. Upon getting the list of winners and honorable mentions, I realized five of the eight libraries were located in areas through which I would be traveling on a planned trip from New Jersey to North Carolina.

Academic New Landmark Libraries 2016 Walking Tour: James B. Hunt Jr. Library, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

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The James B. Hunt Jr. Library at NC State University in Raleigh is a formidable sight on approach: a gleaming white mass with vertical fins weaving along the sides that look like they’d allow the building to practically lift off.

Academic New Landmark Libraries 2016 Walking Tour: James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond

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Virginia Commonwealth University’s James Branch Cabell Library is a striking standout on the downtown Richmond campus.

Academic New Landmark Libraries 2016 Walking Tour: Mary Helen Cochran Library, Sweet Briar College, VA

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The Mary Helen Cochran Library at Sweet Briar College stood out as a refreshingly traditional jewel among the newer libraries I visited.

Academic New Landmark Libraries 2016 Walking Tour: Learning Commons, Marywood University, Scranton

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Marywood University’s Learning Commons is a strikingly modern contrast to the buildings surrounding it on campus.